Not too long ago Landyachtz got a new addition to the team; Alicia Fillback. She’s a downhill ripper, NW native, and highly talented artist (I think she’ll fit in nicely with the crew). Before heading out on her first trip with Landyachtz I sat down with her to get in a quick interview and learn more about her story.
Billy Meiners: Ok so sometimes it’s good to start with basic information. Name, Age, where you live.
Alicia Fillback: My name is Alicia Fillback, 27 years old, and I live in Medford, Oregon which is southern Oregon.
B: How long you been skating?
A: I’ve been pushing around for 10 years and I started downhill 7-8 years ago.
B: What originally go you into skating?
A: Originally it was something I always wanted to do as a kid but I didn’t know anybody that skated and I was busy playing soccer. Soccer was what I did until I was 19 and I was really committed to that so I didn’t have much time for other sports. When I was done with soccer I found longboard videos on Youtube and started teaching myself how to slide, and eventually found one friend who also did downhill.
B: You lived in Vancouver?
A: Yeah, that was in Vancouver (Washington)
B: What was your first longboard?
A: My first longboard was a bamboo Sector 9 board. It wasn’t a pintail. It had a kicktail and it was kinda stiff.
B: So you’re one of the few people who claims their first longboard wasn’t a sector 9 pintail.
A: Yeah, it was actually a shorter wheelbase, top mount with a kicktail. So it would probably be pretty cool now.
B: Seven years ago when you were getting into downhill that’s when Jp (Rowan) and I were doing a lot more events around here (Portland). Cathlamet was really poppin off (rest in peace), so yeah how did you stumble onto the Portland scene?
A: My friend Gabe in Vancouver was the only other person I knew of that skated hills. He had skated in Portland and had been to Rip City, knew JP and he basically encouraged me to get involved with the Portland scene that way. He took me to Switchbacks my first time and Maryhill so I kinda got connected through him. That’s how I met you, Jp, and Casey.
B: What was the first longboard/downhill event you ever did?
A: It was a Switchbacks race.
B: God those were good when they were happening every other month.
A: Yeah, the turn out from people was pretty crazy.
B: Yeah, like a hundred people would show up and it’d be kind of a headache but it’s cool what it did for the scene.
A: Yup, that was the thing that got me into local events. And boomtown was kind of a big thing too that I got into pretty quickly. The slide jams in Eugene, those were pretty good.
B: What’s been your favorite skateboard event? It can be a serious downhill race or a slide jam.
A: It’s hard to decide an overall favorite because I’d have to take into account the road but also the energy and the environment in general. God that’s hard!
B: I’ll let you pick two.
A: Two? Ok. Ditch Slap and Cathlamet. So those are not so much road dependent.
B: Definitely not for Cathlamet.
A: Hahaha, not at all.
B: The race course was so-so but we made do.
A: Yeah, it was good. Um okay, so I’m gonna pick two more. So Cathlamet and Ditch Slap for just overall everything and Giant’s Head and Tepe and Tacos for the actual skating experience.
B: Yup, both those are pretty amazing roads. So how do you see where women are at with skating now versus when you first started. Because at least I’ve noticed way more women out there skating and doing it up and it’s also cool to see what Nike and Adidas is doing. So it seems like things are definitely changing.
A: There are definitely a lot more women skating in general. I feel like the downhill community is still pretty small with women but it’s a lot more normalized now. I’ll see another girl who is skating that I’ve never met before and it’s not like the big surprising thing it used to be. It’s like just another chick who’s skating. AndÂ I think it’s good that it’s getting normalized and I think it’s really good that there are more prominent women like Lacey (Baker) or Nora (Vasconcellos) who are getting a lot of sponsor recognition in addition to the public support they already have had. That’s what’s going to be the huge push in making it just a normal thing.
B: Yeah to have an actual company to promote someone and say this person is pro and we’re hyped on them.
A: Yeah, it validates it for everybody else.
B: And I think with a lot of the events that are coming up, like the Maryhill freeride, the number of women that are there and skating is impressive. My first Maryhill race maybe had like 3 women there and I’m not even sure there was a women’s class. But that was in 2006 so things have definitely changed now.
A: Yeah the first year I raced Maryhill was 2011 and there were 6 women. The second year I raced Maryhill there were 12 women and then the third year I raced Maryhill there were 28. So it was booming for a bit and I think it hasn’t kept growing because the race scene has leveled out it seems like. But I haven’t also done a lot of races in a while but…
B: So how would you describe your skating now? If you were to go skate for the day what kind of stuff would you like to do.
A: I’ve been skating a lot of parks now. We have some good ones close to where I live. Gold Hill, White City and the Medford park are the three that I frequent. So I guess if I was to go out and get a solid day of skating it’d be going to a skatepark and then sessioning a hill.
B: Good hills down there?
A: Yeah we have really good runs.
B: I’ve never skated in southern Oregon.
A: I think the runs in southern Oregon are better than the runs up here (Portland).
B: That’s a bold claim.
A: It IS a bold claim. But we have runs that we shuttle and runs that we hike and session. One of them’s gated off. They’re rad.
B: Well I’ll have to make a trip to southern Oregon and see what I’m missing out on.
A: The runs that we have are fun because you can rally them or you can freeride them. So you can kind of skate it depending on how you’re feeling. And I still like doing the stand up slides and probably going slower than everybody else but it’s fun.
B: What skaters are you stoked on right now? You can pick 3 or even 4 if it’s a tough one.
A: Casey (Morrow) and Brandon Tissen. It’s fun getting to skate with him too. And I love skating with Carmen. And then I’d say Big Dave.
B: So you’re getting ready to go on your first trip with Landyachtz. You’ve probably met our filmer Guff but what are your thoughts on doing your first film trip with the crew?
A: I’m really excited. I haven’t been on a big team skate trip in a while so I’m stoked. I already know Vera and it’s going to be cool spend time with the crew. I feel like I already know everybody that I’m going there with but it’ll be nice to spend more time with them.
B: Yeah, to spend a chunk of time traveling with the crew.
A: Yeah so it’ll be exciting to do the skating and the filming with different people also. It’s fun to figure out that different dynamic of skating/traveling with people that you haven’t before.
B: How do you feel about making stops on a skate trip to get coffee?
B: Ok good I think we’re going to travel well.
B: Did you ever think you would be riding for Landyachtz?
A: Hmmm… no. Not really. I put a lot of consideration into sponsorships. I really try not to move around and I try to put a lot of thought into where I feel like I’m going and if an opportunity comes up I deliberate on it.
B: It’s funny because 4-5 years ago I don’t know if Landyachtz would’ve been a good fit but looking at where we are at now I think things have worked out well. I actually talked to Kevin (Carlton) about it when we were driving up from Texas and I mentioned that I thought of hitting you up to see if you wanted to join the crew and he said, “Do It!” So I’m glad you’re hyped on it.
A: Yeah it’s cool because Landyachtz has been supporting the downhill community in lots of ways for as long as I’ve been skating and way before that too.
B: They’ve been around 21 years now.
A: It seems like they were really involved in the Canadian scene which was crucial in building what we have now all around the world. So it’s cool to be a part of that now.
B: What goals do you have for skating this year?
A: I really want to film a NW video part. Like a full, solid video. I don’t know if I want that to be just southern Oregon or if that will encompass different places around Oregon and Washington. But I feel like I’ve mostly filmed in California and I mostly don’t skate in California. I love the roads there but I’d really like to showcase the environment that I’ve been skating and that my friends have been skating in the NW.
B: Well luckily we have a filmer so there’s a good chance that can happen.
A: Yeah! That’s exciting. I really want to get back in to that and I want to do more events this year than I did last year. I slowed down a bit over the last few years because of work/family but it would be nice to get back in to doing a little bit of traveling and road trips.
B: Well I think kicking it off with this trip to Hawaii is a good way to start.
A: Yeah, that’s kind of a banger already.
B: Hmmm… let me see if I have any other questions… I probably should’ve had stuff written down… oh yeah! You make really rad art! Is that something you’ve done your entire life or is that something you’ve kind of picked up and realized you had a talent for.
A: No it’s definitely something that I’ve done for my entire life. I’ve been drawing and doing art for a long as I can remember. Pretty much as long as I’ve had memories I’ve been making art. It’s just something I’m very inclined to do and I definitely did a lot of drawing and painting as a kid instead of having a social life. So I pretty much just played soccer and drew things.
B: A social life is overrated.
A: hahaha, as I’ve learned.
B: Well I guess that’s all the question I have. I’m very stoked for this trip we’re about to go on and really hyped to have you on the crew.
A: Thank you! I’m hankful to be going to Hawaii again and very happy to be a part of the Landy crew.